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Overcoming Feelings of Inadequacy: Embracing Confidence and Self-Acceptance Through Yoga

Updated: Feb 1

yoga mats

Have you ever found yourself in a yoga class, surrounded by seemingly gravity-defying contortionists, and suddenly felt like you don't measure up? 

If you’re thinking yes, you're not alone. 

The yoga journey is about self-discovery and growth, but it's not uncommon to encounter feelings of inadequacy along the way. In fact, these emotions can be powerful teachers if we allow them to be.

Embracing Vulnerability

Let's start by acknowledging that feeling inadequate during yoga class is a normal experience.

Yoga is not just about the physical postures; it's a holistic practice that encompasses the mind, body, and spirit to confront our vulnerabilities and rise above them. 

It is in this space that we create for ourselves that we find both liberation and challenges.

A Student’s Journey:

I remember a time when I felt out of place in a yoga class. I would struggle to hold a pose, and I compared myself to everyone around me, especially those who seem to engage in poses effortlessly.  I felt like I was failing at something that was supposed to bring me peace and strength. It was a humbling moment, but it also became a catalyst for profound self-reflection."

Cultivating Self-Compassion

The beauty of yoga lies in its ability to teach us self-compassion. 

Here are some strategies found by many yogis to be helpful in overcoming feelings of inadequacy on the mat:

1. Mindful Breathing

  • When negative emotions arise, focus on your breath. Inhale deeply, feeling the expansion of your lungs, and exhale any self-doubt or judgment.

2. Positive Affirmations

  • Replace self-critical thoughts with positive affirmations. Remind yourself that your journey is unique and that every small step forward is a triumph.

3. Gratitude Practice

  • Cultivate gratitude for what your body can do. Instead of fixating on what you can't do, celebrate the strength and flexibility you've already developed.

4. Setting Intentions

  • Before each practice, set an intention to approach yourself with kindness and acceptance, regardless of how you perform in the class.

5. Letting Go of Comparison

  • Release the need to compare yourself to others. Remember that everyone's body is different, and everyone is battling an emotion, thought or experience so each individual is on their own path.

Harnessing the Transformative Power of Yoga

Yoga isn't just about touching your toes or achieving a perfect pose; it's about what you learn on the way. 

When we embrace our feelings of inadequacy, we can better understand our strengths and limitations. It's an opportunity to cultivate resilience, self-acceptance, and an unwavering belief in our inherent worth.

So, the next time you begin your yoga practice, remind yourself that it's not about performance, despite the portrayal on social media; instead, it's a journey of self-discovery and mindfulness.

We all tumble on the mat in our own way, but with encouragement and guidance, we’re able to create space for inner peace and harmony.

Approach yourself with self-compassion, welcoming a growth mindset. Embrace yoga, celebrate your progress, and remember that your worth is not determined by the shape of your body in a pose, but rather the positive change that you create for yourself. 

Disclaimer: It's important to note that yoga and life coaching serve as compliments to professional mental health therapy, not replacements.


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